Campaigners are calling on the government to review child employment legislation to protect children from harm or abuse in the workplace.
The National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment, an organisation which promotes good practice at work, claims that current laws are “confusing, inconsistent, out of date” and failing to safeguard children.
Currently, local authorities are in charge of enforcing the regulations, which amount to over 200 pieces of legislation with some dating back to 1933, said NNCEE.
Ian Hart, Surrey Council child employment officer, backed the NNCEE campaign to tighten current laws. He said: “Child employment isn’t fully regulated or policed. There are just a handful of specialists across the country. It is outrageous that we are putting the opportunities and well-being of our children at risk because of a lack of awareness, lack of resources and an archaic system.”
In collaboration with television network ITV, NNCEE launched a DVD, Every Child Matters – Even When They’re At Work, today at the House of Commons to highlight the failures of current legislation.
Charlie Monkcom, safeguarding in business adviser at NSPCC, agreed that current employment laws should be tightened. “Children should be able to enjoy part-time work but their safety must be the paramount consideration. One child hurt at work is one child too many,” he added.